Mahmood Khan, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf's (PTI) newly nominated candidate for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister, on Thursday denied that he has been "planted" by anyone and offered an explanation on alleged corruption allegations against him.
In a surprise turn of events on Wednesday, Mahmood beat former favourite Mohammad Atif Khan to the party's nomination for the top KP job. The party insiders told Dawn that he owed his mercurial rise to his alliance with former KP CM Pervez Khattak.
Mahmood, however, denied that this was the case, saying: "There is talk on the media that I am a planted person. There is no truth to this. I stand with the PTI's ideology and Khan sahib."
"[If anyone] I am the planted person of Imran Khan," Mehmood repeated after PTI spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry, who was by his side during their brief exchange with media personnel.
In April 2014, Mahmood, then KP's sports minister, was accused of transferring Rs1.8 million funds to his personal account.
When asked to revisit and comment on that corruption case today, he said: "First, you should review my assets; By God's grace I have more than enough. This was about Rs1.8m that I had announced for different sports events.
"The DG had issued the cheque in sports minister's favour and not in my name. There was a separate account created, but I pointed out that this is wrong. I was told that this practice was a norm. After that I returned that sum and it was distributed among the people.
"An inquiry also took place and it ended with the suspension of the DG and the secretary of the time."
When asked why he had only paid Rs1,250 in taxes despite his net worth being in billions, Mahmood explained: "Malakand is a tax-free zone. I have a lot of commercial property but I did not purchase it. I inherited it. There is no tax on it because this is a tax-exempt area. I did not evade any taxes."